Saturday, 15 April 2017

G5.5 head east to pastures new

G5.5 head east to pastures new
By Peter Farnfield
Sunday, April 16, 2017 - 17:08
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A small but select group of us (Calvin, Nick B, Stuart G Matt K and I) set off for Frant with the intention of following Dave Bibby's route around the east side of Tundbridge Wells but time constraints  - Calvin needed to get to work - and we headed south from Frant to Mark Cross. We had meant to have coffee in the former but the little cafe was closed for Easter! Anyway we found a very nice garden centre cafe and restaurant three miles down the road that I can gully recommend. It's always great to devise a route (the secnd half at least) and have your fellow riders appreciate the new lanes, views and challenges and everyone seemed to appreciate it. When you ride in East Sussex you get into the High Weald and the climbs come thick and fast. Generally the roads are in pretty good shape and we saw few other cyclists and the traffic on the lanes was quiet. To be fair the only real new leg was from Langton Green to Hartfield, but from Frant you can push further south/east or north east. It's only 28 miles to Frant, 31 to Mark Cross. There are subtle differences to the countryside in East Sussex that I'm sure many of you will appreciate. Dropping down from Mark Cross you climb into Rotherfield where there is another great little cafe (but don't leave yoru bikes in the drive next door the owner doesn't like it) and then trun right straight away back into the lanes and woods. In a couple of weeks and a few degrees warmer this is really delightful. We'd left 1:45 mins to get back to the drome on what we assumed would be a 30 mile ride; shouldn't be too difficult but the terrain was against us as was the cold north westerly. Getting to Lingfield with 27 minutes left on the clock we dropped into formation and pushed hard delivering Calvin to his car just 3 minutes late. 60 miles all told and about 3,500 ft at an average of 17.8 mph.